William Munroe was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts in 1778. He was the third son of Daniel Monroe who was born in Lexington. Daniel’s father Jedediah Munroe died in the battle of Lexington. Daniel’s mother, Abigail Parker of Roxbury was the eldest daughter of Jonathan Parker, a farmer in the town of Roxbury and was one of the Patriots who enlisted in destroying the tea in Boston Harbor at the commencement of the America Revolution. He also had ties to the revolution in that he was involved in the Boston Tea party.
It is thought that William had limited education. At the age of thirteen, he was employed or placed with grandfather Parker to assist on his farm. William was not a strong boy and disliked manual labor. At the age of fourteen, he was placed with Mr. Millis who was a wheelwright and worked on Roxbury Street. Here William had a similar experience with hard work and lasted only five months. He then went off to Dorchester to apprentice to Major Stephen Badlam Esqr. Badlam operated a successful cabinet business. William stayed here for two years sawing veneers, turning a lathe and farming. Next, he was employed by a Mr. John Paddleford who was a cabinetmaker located on Roxbury Street. William stayed with him until he was 17.5 years old and moved on to Taunton to work with a the cabinetmaker Nehemiah Munroe. Nehemiah had a good business on the same street. William recalls that Nehemiah was a hard person to work for and he stayed with him until he was 21. Here he learned carving and made the best quality furniture. In June of 1800, his brother Daniel convinced him to set up shop in Concord to make clock cases for him. He set up his first shop in Mr. William Heywoods cabinet shop. By July of 1802, it is recorded that he made 52 clock case up to that date. In July, he was taken in as a partner in his brothers business until 1804. After this, he made anything for anybody including clock and timepiece cases, gun stocks, bedsteads, tables, coffins, sideboards, etc. On Sept. 19, 1805,William married Patty Stone the daughter of the architect Captain John Stone. John Stone designed the Charles River Bridge.